Article Overview:    The Santas of Vigilance were out in force last night.  They ruled the city of New York.  They smashed lumps of coal in people's hearts and brought a moment of joy of happiness to all who saw them.   How can we bring the Santa of Vigilance to our children and loved ones each and every day?   What gifts can we give those we love to remind them that Hope and Joy thrive?  Find out.


Sunday--December 14, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 823
Santa Rules The Night With  His Reindeer of Vigilance
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Dec. 13, 2003--  Santa rules the streets of New York City.  At least, he did last night.
       Walking east on Houston last night, a major division between the East Village and Lower Manhattan, my wife and I literally bumped into a herd of wandering Santas and a gaggle of Santa's elves.   

A flood of Santas crossed the street at Houston and First Avenue in front of my wife and me

       New York is a wondrous place where you might turn a corner and bump into Osama bin Laden having coffee at an outdoor Starbucks, or be jostled in the subway by Martin Sheen, who plays the President in the t.v. series West Wing,  hurrying to get to the Catholic Worker to help out spooning soup to the homeless.
       So it wasn't surprising to see a flood of Santas crossing the street at Houston and First Avenue.  There were perhaps 200 of them, dressed in red and white Santa and elf suits.
       Some were busy chatting on cell phones, others ferried cups of hot coffee, and a few had curious brown bags hiding the label of the bottle they were sipping from.
       The Santa flow was very joyous, well-mannered.   I looked upon them as a "Herd of Santa's Vigilance," a symbol of the joy Holiday seasons offer those of us who may think Terrorism shadows the sunlight of the spirit.
        Most of them were young men and women, early twenties and thirties.   They were wandering, for sure.
        We asked a couple of them where they were heading and what they were doing.  It seems each year they get together and virtually "graze" the city, moving here and there at virtual random with no particular plan except to illustrate a "body of Santa spirit."
         We caught them as they were entering the subway, en route to Washington Square Park and then, according to some of the navigators, possibly shuttling up to 42nd Street, the Crossroads of the World.
        They weren't far from Ground Zero.  I thought of the Sentinels of Vigilance hovering over the World Trade Center on this cold, wintry night.   I was sure they were smiling at the young people out to bring smiles and warmth to whomever's eyes feasted upon their collective gaiety.

The Santas brought smiles and warmth to those whose eyes feasted upon their collective gaity

     Vigilance is often a frame of mind.  It isn't always about "hunting" down the "bad" as much as it is about seeking out the "good" in humanity.   Vigilance requires we see the positive in ourselves and others, as well as being alert to the negatives, to the booby traps and pitfalls of our own defects.
       It is easy for any of us to take our mistakes in life, our errors, our faults, and whip ourselves with them as though they ruled us for eternity.   Some people wallow in the quagmire of their human faults, looking in the mirror and seeing only the cracks and crevices of their shortcomings or magnifying their guilt and shame, or their bitterness, resentments, angers, frustrations and failings.
      The Beast of Terror thrives on such thoughts, TerrorThoughts for sure, and gobbles them up as the hungry child might a dish of delicious ice cream.
      A Holiday time such as Christmas helps to drive away the Beast of Self Terror.   It reminds us for a brief stitch in time that perhaps someone out there--despite our weaknesses at perfection--might love us no matter what we look like, how we act, whether we think well of ourselves or not.

The Santas of Vigilance helped drive away the Beast of Terror

      I got those vibrations from the Santas of Vigilance last night.
      I always get them from the Sentinels of Vigilance.
      I am reminded daily by writing about Vigilance that it begins with an attitude of service to the future generations.  How can I be of service today to the Children's Children's Children?
      One way I can do that is by looking to the hope of the future, to its magical beauty, to its boundless treasures that lie unopened yet for countless children who take the gift of liberty and freedom of thought into action, and strive to improve the world for their children.
      That is, without doubt, a lofty ideal.

Many of us get beaten into ruts shackled by the yoke of our own oppression

      Many of us get beaten into ruts and feel we are stuck in them, forced to plod along like the plough horse forever shackled by the yoke of our own oppression, our own self-delivered tyranny and hopelessness that we will never "be important," never "break the bonds of servitude" of what we have been, what we think we can never be and believe we are.
      For many, the "hope" of life dies early in life when, after many attempts to "succeed" in life and love, only routine and unhappiness prevail.   Each day is a matter of trudging through the same routine, experiencing the same head banging.
      The bills always exceed the income, the problems always shadow the solutions, the darkness always seems to blanket the sunlight.
       This is Terrorism at its most best.   It snuffs the joy of life.  It exhausts the flame of hope and contaminates joy with quiet suffering.
       "Oh, I wish I had...  Oh, I should've been....  Oh, if only...." 
       Then, amidst this cacophony of calamitous thoughts, in marches a herd of Santas.   Whatever one might have been thinking at the moment about the fungal side of life is instantly changed by the bright smiles and bold red and white costumes.      

Santa's lumps of coal for the naughty are replaced with snowflakes of happiness

       Laughter rings.    That dark, ugly lump of coal growing in the soul is smashed, replaced with snowflakes of happiness, rainbows of light, and a tingling of contentment that maybe, just maybe, things aren't as bad as they might appear.
        Our "quiet moments of desperation" give way to "joyous moments of hope."   The Santas remind us of the child within.
        They heave-ho at the rocks and burdens weighing down the soul and free it to levitate for a moment, to return to a state of innocence, to a land where peace and prosperity rule, and where the horror of waiting for the other shoe to drop, or the next disaster to occur is washed by the tides far out to sea where it can be neither seen nor heard.

Saint Nicholas wins all our hearts and returns us to our childhood lands of fantasy

       Saint Nicolas wins all our hearts, for we forget that we were first children of dreams and imaginations long before we fell victim to the Terrorism of drudgery and dismay.    We are whisked back to the enchanted land of child's fantasy that we are loved, cared for, watched over, cuddled, cooed, hugged and protected from all the arrows that life slings in our direction.
         I felt that sensation last night as not one or two, but a hundred times that amount of Santas poured toward me and massed on the corner as they threaded down the subway, laughing, smiling, emitting a radiance of cheer and hope that any special holiday designed for children o the "inner child" of others stirs in the most restive of hearts.
          I thought about the Parents of Vigilance being Santas of Vigilance all year long.   I thought of them giving their children the gift of their love and care each and every day, not just during the official holiday. 
         What if, I thought, each morning the child awoke to Mom and Dad dressed as Santa, and when their eyes pried open, their great gift of the day was a giant hug and the words:  "I love you!"  

The Family of Vigilance sings around the Tree of Vigilance with presents of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions

        And, in the evening, the family sat around a Tree of Vigilance with shiny lights and tinsel and sang songs and wrapped presents, each containing some Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children.  These presents would be tucked under the tree each night and, upon awakening, the children would open them and be given added reasons that day to find worth and value in a world that often falls Complacent to the need a child has to ward off Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
          Yes, I thought, the Santas of Vigilance ruled the night.    And, if one subscribes to being a Parent of Vigilance, the Santas of Vigilance can rule every night in their household.
          I went home feeling like a child.    I had a present from the night.   The present of hope.

Dec.13--The Terror Of Starbucks' Wooden Sizzle Sticks

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